How Gamescom hit its goals without having too much impact

by | Sep 19, 2022 | Technology

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By post-pandemic measures, Gamescom is back.

In the past, getting as many people as possible to attend Gamescom was the big goal for the gaming trade show in Cologne, Germany. But this time, as the pandemic was fading, the solution was more like a Goldilocks problem: Balancing attendance with other factors like climate change and online access.

While the attendance of 265,000 people was 29% lower than the peak of 373,000 in 2019, the Gamescom organizers believe that was a success, said Felix Falk, CEO of Game, the trade group that puts on the gaming expo, in an interview with GamesBeat.

That physical result has to be counter-balanced against the 200 million online views of the various sessions, including 12 million views of the Opening Night Live event hosted by Geoff Keighley. That show trended No. 1 on Twitter worldwide.

Going hybrid

Felix Falk is managing director of Game, the German Game Industry Association.One of the big bets of the planners was to make the show a physical and online hybrid.

The attendees came from more than 100 countries to the show, which was held for the first time in a physical setting again since the last 2019 in-person show. In 2020 and 2021, the shows were held online. About 1,100 exhibitors from 53 countries showed up at the Koelnmesse location. About 75% of the exhibitors came from outside of Germany. That was higher than usual. The trade visitors — who are part of the game industry and get to attend the show a day early — numbered about 25,000, half from abroad.

More than 100,000 people attended the concerts on the stages at Rudolfplatz and Hohenzollernring. And concerts such as the Metal Hellsinger game’s heavy metal concert were widely shared on social media.

“The joy of Gamescom was to see that everyone was happy to see each other,” Falk said. “They were coming back together and enjoying games. And the safety was good too.”

Falk said the team tried to design a 360-degree festival, with things that appealed to executives, developers, and fans. And a balance of online and physical events, including small dinners as well as big concerts.

“We …

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